25 October 2020
For the second meeting Néd and I decided to go check out Tallipiha (Stable Yard) in the centre of Tampere. In the past it was a part of the Finlayson factory community and where the factory owner kept his horses. This time around we didn’t see any horses but they did have some fluffy sheep we got to pet!
Well hello there.
Apart from the cute animals Tallipiha has a cozy café and some little shops that offer a wide variety of handmade goods. We took a stroll through the shops and sat down with a coffee to have our second lesson. Each of us had prepared a list of ten useful verbs conjugated in three different tenses. We went through them and agreed a good way to make sure they really sink in would be to have a small test , so our plan is to do that in two weeks. I personally think verbs are usually the thing that can slow you down most while trying to make a sentence in a foreign language because you have to think about who you are talking about and when the action happened (and possibly other things as well, like has the action been finished or is it still ongoing etc). So if you can learn even a few forms of the most used verbs, it can be a giant leap forward in your communication.
However we also realised it could be a good idea to go over some simpler things as well, so we talked about the numbers and the days of the week. I must say numbers are tough for me in any language but oh lord was my French rusty. (But it’s okay, we’re here to learn! And what’s the logic of seventy being sixty-ten (soixante-dix) anyway?) The French pronunciation is also a bit tricky, I feel like I could do it better before but now my tongue doesn’t remember how to make all the sounds! On the other hand Néd has some enviably good pronunciation with Finnish. All in all it was a great lesson and I really appreciate having this opportunity to brush up my French in good company. 🙂 Next week we’ll look at some more numbers since we’ll be talking about how to tell the time, I’m sure it’ll be good practice for both of us!
Wednesday 7th October 2020 / The first meeting.
Chris and I decided to have our first EOTO-course meeting at a cafe. My sister came too as she wanted from the beginning to occasionally join the studying. First, we introduced ourselves and talked about some basic background information to get to know each other. Chris is an exchange student from Germany who quite recently arrived here in Tampere, so it was interesting to hear his first impressions about Finland and this city. He had already picked up some common words in Finnish but had not studied the language. My level in German was the same as I have visited Germany once and got some friends from there but never studied the language before.
We started from the basics and went through some greetings and other common words and phrases. Even though Finnish and German are very different we found some similarities between them – for example, the use of alphabets is more similar than I expected as in German they also use the letters ö and ä. Also in both languages people like making ridiculously long words by combining them together. Besides studying the language there was some discussion about Finnish and German culture and the stereotypes too. The meeting went quickly and was really nice! I look forward to getting to know each other better and learning more German in the future. 😀
2nd Meeting Report – 25th October 2020
We met with Mona on the 25th of October, in Tallipiha, an old Stable Yard counting many little shops and a café. We visited the place, pet some sheep, appreciated the handmade crafted items in the shops, before sitting around a cup of coffee in the coffee shop.
Beforehand, we agreed to come with a list of 10 most common verbs, and their variations in 3 different tenses/forms. I made a PDF listing verbs conjugated in Present, Future & Simple Past, although Mona mentioned that she used to learn the Composed Past tense. It made sense to me, as it’s also the past tense we use the most in spoken French. I decided to correct the PDF and send her a new version. On her side, Mona wrote down 10 verbs in Present, Past and Negative forms, as I quote her: “Finnish has no future.” *gulp*
We spent some time on understanding the different verb forms, then agreed to have a little “test” in 2 weeks, to motivate us to learn them!
Afterward, we decided to go over basic stuff, such as weekdays and numbers. Mona already knew many of our French weekdays, and I knew my share of Finnish numbers. We ended up giving each other tips on the pronunciation and grammar of those.
Again, these 2 hours flew by and I learned so much from Mona. On to the next meeting! 😊
We met with Suong via Teams on Monday October 12th and we talked for four hours. First we talked mostly Finnish and then I got first glimpse of Vietnamese. It was more exciting than I could imagine. First challenge I found is that we spend all the available time when we meet and there’s no time left to write about it.
On Monday October 19th again via Teams we had second session. We had only 30 minutes and I managed to teach one funny word and its use in spoken language. Then I thought, was it really that necessary.
Then was my turn to learn more Vietnamese on Tuesday October 20th. I stumbled my way to introduce myself but there are so many different words to include in a sentence that I no longer knew which way is up. It’s been interesting but nonetheless I can’t wait to get rid of the virtual environment. I’m clumsy with computers.
Hello-Ciao-Xin chào!!! It was our fourth meeting and the session was full of food, that makes me hungry all the way. Right in the beginning of the meeting, Duy did very well at introducing the most typical and best specilities in Vietname such as: pho, banh trung thu (mid-autumn cake), nem… I was impressed by the way he delivered all the most basic but mostly adequate information about the dishes to Sara; furthermore, he also helped her to distinguish the fake and the real version of distict dishes, he did it very clear, and I admired him at this point. Then we also showed Sara two special food which rarely foreigners can “deal with” are “trung vit lon” and “sau rieng” (durian) and we hope that she can try the two in the near future.
About the Italian food, Sara showed us a huge varieties of her country’s specilities: from the most general like pasta, pizza, lasagna, risotto (including many different types) to the more region-specific ones such as rosotto allo zafferano, pasta al pesto, polenta (in the North) and parmigiana di melanzane, cannoli (in the South). The common thing in Italian dishes is that they are mostly fat in nutrition and provide a large amount of protein and energy (I think it is not suitable to try these before going to bed!!)
We have planned for one cultural exchange day to cook our food and discuss more about our cultures and languages when Duy and me can arrive in Finland. We all hope that day will come soon!
It’s so surprised when we welcomed a new member to our group, he is my fellow from Vietnam and he is from the North (I’m from the South). It’s good for all of us, Vietnamese people from different regions still have typical differences, and not only Sara I can learn from Duy many other things I has not experienced yet.
Via our meeting, it was an open greetings, as it is definitely “the more the merrier”, we got to know more about each other. Firstly, Sara taught me about the verb tenses (with the “TO BE=essere” and “TO HAVE=avere”) and also a little revision the personal pronouns from the last session; the lesson becomes harder and harder when I learnt how to combine the words in order to express the sentence in the correctly in certain contexts. Italian grammar is getting more complicated at this point and much more efforts must be put into practice if I want to comprehend all of this. On the contrary, verb tenses and plural form in Vietnamese is really simple, it only took us about 15 minutes and there was no challenges for Sara to get through with this part.
Also, after that Duy and me introduced Sara traditional holidays and typical occasions in Vietnam. While Duy were “making his presentation” by speech to Sara, I tried to share the relative images and information from internet on Zoom’s sharing screen space. We thought we all did well at this session (lol).
There is still many interesting things to disscuss in the next meetings (both academic and cultural) and we’re all looking forward to the coming weeks!
After my two weeks of quarantine Fryderyk and I were actually able to meet in person for the first time and we decided to meet in Kauppi at the lakefront. For our second lesson we started with repeating the basics we already learned at our Skype-meeting 2 weeks ago (Cześć! or Dzień dobry!) and then named the things around us (e.g. Lake = Jezioro). For me, the pronunciation was really hard, as the Polish language has some sounds that do not exist in German. In addition to that, remembering the words was not easy at all. Unfortunately, we did not write the words down immediately, which made remembering even harder, but afterwards we started a list with vocabularies, which we can expand during the next meetings.
Additionally, we discussed how to differentiate between a question and a normal sentence and talked about our cultural background.
Overall, I think we are on a good way to develop our language skills.
If we had followed our preliminary scheduled meeting regarding sports, we would have visited a bar, where we would have been able to watch football, while talking about our favorite teams. However, instead of sitting in front of a TV, we decided to visit the Tampere Ilves, one of two ice hockey teams in Tampere, in order to cheer them at their Matchday against Pori. Fortunately, we were accompanied by three friends, who take part in this course as well. Even though we had planned to talk about our most preferred football teams, we avoided the topic, because the game of Liverpool, Ahmed’s favorite team, against Everton ended in a tie (caused by a false referee decision).
Due to the killing of a history teacher, who showed a cartoon of prophet Mohammed, by a an Islamist in France two days ago, we talked about the conservative values of some Muslims and the difficulty of integrating them in a society. In addition, because of evaluating the foreign policy of president Trump, we talked about the election in the United States as well. From my point of view, Ahmed and I have similar opinions of liberal thinking, although we came from different cultures and countries. To sum it up, I really enjoyed this day again and looking forward seeing Ahmed for the 5th time.
Our third meeting was a kind of history lesson. Even though I have an Israeli friend in Germany, I was not conscious of Israel’s establishment in the territory of Palestine after world war II. Honestly, without extensive knowledge regarding this conflict before, I blamed the Palestinian for their, from my previous point of view, gratuitous production of tension in this region. After our meeting, although violence is never the right way of solving problems and has to be judged in spates, I am more aware of the reasons, which caused the Palestinian behavior. Israel has expanded its territory beyond the borders settled by the United Nations in 1967. Hopefully, the conflict will be resolved in future.
In order to explain the two main religious movements in Germany, Protestants and Catholics, I started with the 95 thesis of Martin Luther in 1517. To sum it up, due to the selling of indulgences by the catholic church in the middle age, a movement arose, which was convinced that this remission of sins is just a way of making money. Hence, the Protestants, led by Martin Luther, established their own religion, which was solely based on the faith in god. In general, even though this incident was one of the most incisive events in Germany, explaining it without Google was partially difficult due to lack of detailed knowledge. Ahmed agreed to this point, because watching videos regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in order to be prepared for the meeting, was helpful for him as well.
Shukran and Salam !
Ahmed and I met for the second time, in order to see the sunset at Naistenlahti, the lake next to my flat at Lapinkaari. During our first meeting, we have already done the first two events of our preliminary plan at once, playing football and having a typical Arabic lunch at Ahmed’s apartment. Hence, even though it was not part of our preliminary plan, we decided spontaneously to use October’s shafts of sunlight, before the weather will become more displeasing. But unfortunately, the sky was cloudier as we previously expected. During our walk through the forest, we had a lively discussion regarding integration of refugees in general and especially in Germany due to the high number of Syrians who arrived in 2015 and 2016. In addition, Ahmed was really interested into the role of racism in my domestic country. I explained that Germany has, from my point of view, no problem with racism generally although a nationalistic political party, called Alternative für Deutschland, has been increasing since its appearance in 2013.
Moreover, Ahmed explained the process of marriage in the Arabic culture and women’s status in general. In comparison to Germany, the differences regarding equal treatment of both women and gays are tremendous. Otherwise, most parts of Palestine’s youth tend to a more liberal way of thinking. At this point, I am really thankful for taking part in this course and, in order to learn more about a non-western culture, which is embossed by religious values. After this meeting, due to Ahmed’s open-mindedness, I am more aware of both the actual situation in Palestine as well as the ongoing process of change.